Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs
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How to Motivate Your Employees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The lifeblood of a small business is its human capital. Fulfilled, happy employees deliver and perform with excellence while unhappy workers can quickly tear down the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. A recent study by International HR consulting firm TowersWatson found that less than 21 percent of employees described themselves as “highly engaged” and 8 percent are fully disengaged.

    So what is a small business owner to do? Well, like any relationship, the people who work for you need to feel like you care, especially if they are expected to reciprocate and treat your business like it matters. Although not everyone responds the same to rewards and niceties, here are some motivational tips that should help perk up your team.

    Make a bit of breakfast available during those long morning meetings. Stop by quality spots with good eats like Sweet Maple on Taylor Street and pick up some delectable old-fashioned biscuits, fluffy eggs and other homemade selections sure to help fuel groggy morning brain cells.

    Reward people who have worked far above and beyond their standard workweek with a comp. day or “come in late” day. There should be a process on how this is decided so your staff will know it is fair.

    Bring in a trainer or sponsor a class to teach the team a new skill, help them discover their strengths or fine-tune interoffice communication methods. This makes for stronger, more empowered team.

    Connect via an offsite retreat led by a facilitator. Being outside the office and having the conversation led by a neutral party helps foster a productive environment that is safe and ripe for ideation and open discussion.

    Catch a ballgame, do some disco bowling or enjoy a wine tasting. This helps everyone get to know each other and share some much needed laughs.

    Fill the work fridge with goodies. Whether it be healthy snacks for everyday or beer/champagne on Fridays.

    Designate a work-from-home day (or two). Many people’s productivity shoots through the roof when they work from home (that includes yours truly).

    Let people know when they do a great job. Also, tell them why it was a great job. That way, they know what behavior to repeat.

    Avoid threats and overt (and subtle) intimidation. These leadership behaviors make for a toxic, backbiting work environment and will wreak havoc on your personal and corporate reputation.

    Jetta Bates-Vasilatos is founder of Twist Communications and a life stylist with 10+ years of award-winning consumer engagement/strategic planning experience for luxury and global brands like BMW and Coca-Cola. She also serves as an on-air correspondent and writer with a focus on luxury and experiential tourism, lifestyle, sustainability, and personal finance (how to be chic yet savvy). Jetta has appeared on stations such as WCIU-TV, KBS-TV(Korea), ABC-7, CLTV and KBC-TV (Kenya), writes for national print publications such as Essence, Recommend, Ebony and HomeStyle Design, and is the host of the Jettasetting segment on WVON radio.

    Visit her website jettasetting.com, find real-time tips on her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter: @jettaset.